Heavy Marijuana Use Doesn’t Damage Brain
Analysis of Studies Finds Little Effect From Long-Term Use
July 1, 2003 — Long-term and even daily use doesn’t appear to cause permanent brain damage, adding to evidence that it can be a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of diseases, say researchers.
The researchers found only a “very small” impairment in memory and learning among long-term marijuana users. Otherwise, scores on thinking tests were similar to those who don’t smoke marijuana, according to a new analysis of 15 previous studies.
In those studies, some 700 regular marijuana users were compared with 484 non-users on various aspects of brain function — including reaction time, language and motor skills, reasoning ability, memory, and the ability to learn new information.
States Ok Marijuana Use
Grant’s analysis, published in the July issue of the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, comes as many states consider laws allowing marijuana to be used to treat certain medical conditions. Earlier this year, Maryland became the 10th state to allow marijuana use to relieve pain and other symptoms of AIDS, multiple sclerosis, cancer, glaucoma, and other conditions — joining Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
Medicinal marijuana is available by prescription in the Netherlands and a new marijuana drug is expected to be released in Great Britain later this year. In the U.S. and elsewhere, , a drug that is a synthetic form of marijuana and contains its active ingredient, THC, is available by prescription to treat loss of appetite associated with weight loss in AIDS patients.
Grant says he did the analysis to help determine long-term toxicity from long-term and frequent marijuana use. His center is currently conducting 11 studies to determine its safety and efficacy in treating several diseases.
“This finding enables us to see a marginal level of safety, if those studies prove that cannabis can be effective,” Grant tells WebMD. “If we barely find this effect in long-term heavy users, then we are unlikely to see deleterious side effects in individuals who receive cannabis for a short time in a medical setting, which would be safer than what is practiced by street users.”
Cognitive Effects Of Long
Studies on the cognitive effects of long-term marijuana use are ongoing. However, some things are still known.
It appears that heavy, regular marijuana use may hinder your ability to think and concentrate. It can also weaken your memory and judgment. However, neither of these activities kills your brain cells.
Regardless, its significant to note that not everyone who smokes marijuana will experience these adverse effects. Furthermore, most people who use cannabis dont seem to suffer any long-term consequences.
Finally, its also worth mentioning that many of the cognitive impairments associated with marijuana use may be reversible once you stop using the drug.
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National Acceptance And Enlightenment
Now that we understand the biological process that occur after a person smokes weed, its no shock that areas across the United States are lifting their respective bans on the substance. Although states like California and Colorado pioneered the legalization of weed for recreational and medical purposes, conservative states such as Alabama, Virginia, Illinois, Mississippi, Arkansas and Pennsylvania allow citizens to rely on marijuana for their medical needs.
Effect Of Marijuana Use On Iq
The effect Marijuana has on the brain is influenced by the amount a person has smoked and the users age. Individuals under 25, whose brains are still developing, are most susceptible to the effects of Marijuana on the brain. A study of Marijuanas effect on IQ revealed individuals who began using Marijuana at a young age lost 6 to 8 points from their IQ by middle age. Moreover, those who smoked Marijuana throughout their adolescence, then stopped, did not regain their IQ points. Conversely, individuals who began using Marijuana in their adulthood did not experience any IQ loss.
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How Does Marijuana Affect The Brain
As recreational Marijuana use becomes legalized throughout the US, many people now wonder how affects the brain and whether or not it kills brain cells. Just as years of heavy alcohol, Meth, and Heroin use can cause some irreversible brain damage, prolonged Marijuana abuse can affect the ability of brain cells to convey messages . Using Marijuana can cause damage to brain cells that results in a number of concurrent symptoms throughout the body.
Like other drugs, components of Marijuana bind with specific receptors in the brain. Tetrahydrocannabinol is Marijuanas primary Psychoactive ingredient, and it attaches to the brains Cannabinoid receptors . These receptors connect to nerves in the brain which govern memory, appetite, pain regulation, and mood.
When a person smokes Marijuana, they may notice they struggle with staying focused or recalling important details. This can worsen with prolonged Marijuana use, resulting in problems like poor memory and concentration. Motor skills can also be affected by the drug. If users decide to drive while high, they can endanger their lives and the lives of others.
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Working To Prevent And Treat Marijuana Abuse
Despite the potential benefits of marijuana and the increased availability, due to changing stances on legality, the fact remains that marijuana can have dangerous side effects especially for thosewho suffer from abuse and addiction. Prolonged use can not only have a negative impact on mental faculties, but also on other aspects of health and behavior, such as altered decisions, lack of inhibitions, bouts of paranoia, and even depression.
As more states in the US move to make medical and recreational marijuana use legal, its more than likely that the number of users will only increase. Promoting safe use habits will then be essential for minimizing negative side effects and preventing marijuana abuse. Even without the potential for decreased IQ, there are still many dangers associated with any form of drug addiction.
For those who struggle with substance abuse and addiction, it can be difficult to overcome these problems on their own. Support is necessary, from both loved ones and medical professionals, tomake the right choices and stay on track to step away from substance abuse.
Why Is Weed Bad For Your Brain
Memory deficits associated with marijuana may result from how THC impacts the hippocampus. That part of your brain governs memory formation and determines how you process information. Most of the evidence supporting this theory comes from animal studies.
Rats who ingested THC prior to birth, soon after birth, or during adolescence developed marked difficulties with learning and memory tasks later in life. Deficits in cognition that appear in adult rats are thought to be a function of hippocampal damage caused by THC usage in adolescence.
The hippocampus may lose neurons as people age. That, in turn, reduces a persons ability to integrate new information. Chronic use of THC may speed up the loss of hippocampal neurons over time.
In another study, rats received a daily dose of cannabis for eight months. Thats about one-third of a rats total lifespan. These animals exhibited marked nerve cell damage when they were about 12 months old. The amount of damage was equal to that of rats who were twice as old as the experimental animals.
Getting Help For A Marijuana Problem
Marijuana is becoming increasingly accessible as more states move to legalize medical and recreational use, and public opinions are also changing, with many believing marijuana is harmless. This is not necessarily true, and there are some studies that indicate that marijuana use can negatively impact the body and also the brain, especially for young users, heavy users, and people who are long-term users.
There are treatment centers all over the country that are equipped to help those with a marijuana use disorder overcome the problem and begin recovery. If you or someone you know is suffering from a marijuana addiction, contact a treatment center today.
NIDA. 2021, April 13. What are marijuana’s long-term effects on the brain?. Retrieved from on 2021, August 1
Batalla A, Bhattacharyya S, Yücel M, et al. Structural and functional imaging studies in chronic cannabis users: a systematic review of adolescent and adult findings. PloS One. 2013 8:e55821. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055821
Pagliaccio D, Barch DM, Bogdan R, et al. Shared predisposition in the association between cannabis use and subcortical brain structure. JAMA Psychiatry. 2015 72:994-1001. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.1054
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So How Does Marijuana Affect Your Brain
More research is needed to accurately answer this question. There is evidence that cannabis depresses functionality in the developing brains of children and adolescents. Nevertheless, more studies are needed to clarify whether brain impairment also occurs in those who avoid THC before adulthood.
More research is also needed to assess the effects of more potent marijuana strains and new cannabis products such as edibles.
Does marijuana really kill brain cells? It might, and it might not. Either way, youre putting your brain at risk. If youre worried about using too much weed, we can help.Contact Harmony Place in Woodland Hills, California, for more information.
Get To The Point: Does Marijuana Cause Addiction
A common question related to these changes in the brain that can be attributed to substances like weed is: is it addictive?
In general, most people would want to say no. Since Its naturally occurring it, it can be used for medicine and it doesnt feel like Im addicted.
The true answer, however, is that yes, marijuana can be considered addictive.
According to research conducted by, and with, the National Institute of Drug Use , THC can lead to a marijuana use disorder or cannabis use disorder. This is a type of substance use disorder that is characterized by dependence on a substance, in this case, marijuana.
Marijuana use disorder becomes an addiction when the person cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with a lot of different aspects of everyday life. Some studies, as reported by NIDA, suggest that 9% of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it, rising to about 17% in those who start using it in their teens .
Some studies have shown that there is an addiction to marijuana because the features of the three stages of drug addiction outlined by clinical researchers are also present in those who show dependence on cannabis.
Part of this may be due to the increase in the THC level in weed within recent years and particularly over the last handful of decades. This makes addiction or dependence much more likely than ever before.
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The Mailing System Of The Brain And Thc
Think of the receptor system in the brain like that mail system that we discussed before. Once they drop off their package at the mailbox, then the package spends time in the mailbox or at the door. This is similar to how a chemical transfer works in the brain. Once the neurotransmitter drops the chemical off, then the chemical gets to work producing the feeling associated with the message, whether the message they are sending and receiving is about happy feelings or more negative feelings.
So for example, lets say that the dopamine mailman has come and delivered your daily dose of dopamine. Once the dopamine has linked up to your receiving mailbox, then it sits there and does its business to make us feel happy. After a time, we goes to pick up the mail for the day and disconnects that dopamine from the receptor in the mailbox.
This allows the receptor to be ready to accept its next drop off from the mailman. The same can be said for the cannabinoid receptor system that THC impacts. Once the cannabinoids have linked up with their special receptors, a protein comes along and removes the messenger chemical from the receptor.
When using drugs or alcohol, this communication or mailing process can get knocked out of sync or out of order. This can cause the neurotransmitter to stay connected to its receptor longer or to even potentially come back too soon.
Does Smoking Weed Kill Brain Cells
We have all heard the rumor that smoking weed kills brain cells. This rumor is most likely not true. We dont really know if smoking weed kills brain cells or not. More research is needed to determine the long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain.
This article will explore the current evidence surrounding this common misconception. We will also discuss the cognitive effects of marijuana use on your brains overall health.
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Does Smoking Weed Lower Iq
We have now learned that it is most likely a myth that weed kills brain cells, but does it still lower IQ? The New Zealand study, well-known amongst marijuana supporters and dissenters alike, indicates that heavy or persistent cannabis use started as an adolescent and continued into adulthood has the potential to lower IQ, and those points are not recovered if usage is stopped as an adult.
Conversely, those who start using cannabis as an adult do not seem to have the same IQ decline.
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While the conclusions of new research may differ, they agree that overuse of Marijuana, or any drug, is not healthy. While moderation applies to everything in life, drugs require slightly more moderation because of their tendency to cause adverse health effects. Results seem to suggest that moderate use even during development may have no detrimental effects, but waiting until a less sensitive time in mental development is advisable.
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Can Weed Cause Psychosis
The biggest risk of weed is that it will cause the onset of psychosis in susceptible individuals. Some people have a type of mind and of developmental trauma such that they are just on the edge of developing a schizophrenic type of mind. Many studies have shown that weed can be the trigger that pushes them over the edge into full-blown schizophrenia with attendant hallucinations. This claim is however controversial because its not clear if the weed is causing schizophrenia or if the person is trying to medicate symptoms that are already present by smoking weed and also cigarettes.
A meta-analysis was undertaken to try to answer this question. Published in JAMA in 2011, scouring many studies and using analytical methods to data-mine and combine the implications of each study, they concluded that smoking marijuana in childhood did contribute to the later development of psychotic disorders. These are disorders marked by the presence of hallucinations which may be auditory or visual.
However, for the average adult user of cannabis, this is not a concern. Adults should make sure children are not using marijuana or marijuana products.
Recovery Is Tough But So Are You And Were Here To Help
When it comes to getting treatment for addiction of any kind it can be intimidating, and there can be some hesitancy. For marijuana specifically, approximately half of the people who enter treatment for a marijuana use disorder are under 25 years old.
Aside from being young, most of these individuals also report other problems and even some risky behaviors. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly known as the DSM, 4.3 percent of Americans have been dependent on marijuana.
Also, 9% of those who try marijuana develop dependence. Compared to the 15% of cocaine users who develop addictions and 24% of those who use heroin, this may not seem like a lot. However, remember how many more people regularly use cannabis. This makes cannabis dependence more common than other types. Yet, we know most people never seek treatment for it. Were here to help.
Get Help With Vertava Health And Live Your Best Life
If you or someone you love is struggling with cannabis addiction, Vertava Health is here to help. We offer comprehensive and compassionate treatment for all types of addictions and can help guide you through the difficult portions, like withdrawal and detox.
Theres one specific thing we use to help you, something unique: we use your strength. Your own dedication and strength are key ingredients in your own recovery. It might not feel like it, but were confident you have the power to change your life. Call us at , and we can chat about how.
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Ways That Marijuana Affects Cognition
Any type of prolonged use of a psychoactive substance has the potential to cause neurological imbalances or impairmentand marijuana is no exception. The exact nature and extent of brain damage or other lasting effects can depend on a number of factors including:
- Strength of the dosage
- Pre-existing mental illness or genetic predisposition to mental illness
Though marijuana may not be as overtly damaging as alcohol, meth, or cocaine , there are still plenty of undesirable cognitive side effects to be had.
Numerous studies conducted over the past few decades have found that years of chronic cannabis use resulted in significant reductions in gray matter volume. Gray matter is the neuron-dense part of our brain, which is largely responsible for our capabilities to learn and otherwise function. One particular study found that heavy cannabis use resulted in shrinkage of hippocampus and amygdala parts of the brain which can significantly impact memory and learning.
That same study found that the most significant factor was when those participants began using marijuana. Those who started smoking as adults rather than teenagers faced no decrease in IQ. Adolescents with their still-developing brains have the most to lose cognitively. Rather than killing off brain cells, however, marijuana impedes brain development, putting young adults at a number of neurocognitive deficits .